Welcome to #IAmAWiseFoolian - a collection of personal stories from folks in our community who have been touched, supported, and inspired by Wise Fool to embrace their extra-ordinary selves!
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I am Fantina Becker and I am a WiseFoolian!
I am so grateful for the safe space that WiseFool holds for all of us! I feel free to be myself and to create art through movement with the WiseFool community. When I'm not learning, expressing, performing, or teaching at WiseFool, I am an attorney who most definitely could not do my job well without the balance I find here. I have witnessed so many beautiful transformations here because this is an inclusive community, full of heart and soul. I have seen folks find their voice and a platform to be free, authentic, and engaged. I have seen folks come home to their bodies, and from that place begin to know what it is to truly Love themselves. I can recognize it in others because that is what happened for me. WiseFool has created a space where we are able to question the systems that we have inherited but that need not define us. It is a community where we lift each other up, encourage each other, dismantle stereotypes, and become strong to offer resistance to the established structures of oppression so that we can all be more whole, healthy, strong, creative, and free. WiseFool opened my heart, body, and mind to possibilities never before dreamed. I am proud to be a WiseFoolian! I am home with WiseFool.
I am a WiseFoolian.
In 2006, I moved 1400 miles to Santa Fe, NM after seeing Wise Fool’s Circus Luminous show. I didn’t know anyone in the oldest capital city in the U.S. and I had only taken a handful of circus classes, but I knew that I had to be a part of place that focused as much on building community as creating amazing performances. I thought I would stay for 6 months and I ended up staying almost 6 years. Most of my time was spent working with and for Wise Fool where I was pushed as a performer, teaching artist, and community advocate. This organization served as a cornerstone for my life in Santa Fe and for my emotional and intellectual growth as a white, queer, gender non-conforming performing artist.
Wise Fool is a rare combination of politics, physicality, and people. It’s like poetry in motion and it continues to evolve as do I.
My name is Lisa Kadel and #IAmAWiseFoolian
I was first inspired to do circus when I saw a Bust performance. I had seen circus performances before, but never thought it would be possible for me. I thought I was not fit enough, too big, too clumsy. One of the student/ performers got onto the trapeze with a boost from a teacher and I thought, “Hey, I could be the student who gets to the trapeze with a boost from a teacher.”
I learned slowly starting with partner acrobatics. My teachers and fellow students would celebrate every success with me and support me with a strong spot so that I would feel safe. I would feel empowered after each class, even when I had one success among 10 failures.
Now, after more than 8 years of circus, my successes outweigh my failures in circus and I have begun teaching regularly at Wise Fool. There are always challenging and tender edges physically, socially and emotionally and Wise Fool offers a container to interact with those edges. It is not easy, but the example of Wise Fool helps me face challenges in circus and outside of circus. I will always make lots of mistakes and I am able to see that I can learn and grow from them. I am excited to share the support now, as a teacher and as a continuing student, that I first experienced as a student at Wise Fool.
To me, Wise Fool is a place of healing & collectivity: the heart of community. The number of families, friends, organizations & artists that circulate through this place guarantee that Wise Fool can give something to everybody: a space for collective action, for performance, for education & for play.
Wise Fool provides something invaluable in this modern world: community space. By offering folks a place to go, we are able to realize our creative & personal visions in a supportive location. So often, space to work & play comes with a price that limits access to most folks. Wise Fool does the opposite, working hard to be open to the most marginalized people in Santa Fe.
I work as an artist by performing & writing. I am most interested in sharing my art in a communal space that allows people to connect & feel free to share with one another. I’m big on open environments: I want kids to be included, I want queer folks to feel welcome, I want racial representation & I want political discourse alongside abstract art. Wise Fool makes this happen! I am so grateful for this awesome ability to cultivate radical, compassionate community.
For these reasons & a million more, I’m happy to be a WiseFoolian!
Through my time on the trapeze I have discovered that I am far stronger than I knew, and that hard work and practice lead to freedom. I love the community at Wise Fool – so many warm, weird, and talented people – and I love the opportunity to be part of it. I will forever be grateful to Wise Fool.
My name is Meek- I come from Window Rock, on the Dine Nation. I moved to Santa Fe two years ago to pursue a Master’s Degree full-time at the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) where I studied poetry. Through an IAIA alum I was introduced to Circus where I encountered a different type of art and a different type of community.
As a woman, as a member of Dine culture, as a descendent of historical trauma, my body has been through a lot, to say the least Habits formed from my environments and upbringing left me comfortable with pain and the massive hauling of it. Sometimes we wake up and realize there is another way to live- I just had to find it.
When I was ready, I went to Wise Fool where I began to explore a healthy relationship with my body- an intense healing, something I yearned for years. I had no idea what I was signing myself up for.
No one told me how difficult it was going to be; how vulnerable it would make you feel. No one told me I would intertwine so delicately with risk, and come with strength that I never knew existed within. Studying Circus Arts and concentrating on Aerial Fabric is the most challenging decision I have ever made for myself.
My body was not shaped for Circus, yet I am thankful for the burns, the scars, the bruises, the 10-foot falls, all the pain and all the injuries, because I learned. I learned strength- how strong I can be and where my strength can grow. I learned to look at discomfort with new eyes and began to experience pain differently by assessing risk and boundary. Somehow, I gave myself a chance…
It’s been almost two years since I started aerials. Since then, I’ve worked hard with patience and self-compassion, even when I wanted to quit and felt absolutely ridiculous in a leotard. Each week I climbed, I became stronger and began to understand my body. I practiced self-discipline and became self-aware in a way I never honored myself prior.
Since I started my journey, I’ve learned to climb more than silk- I learned to deny everything I was taught by my environments and society and to do what I need for growth towards wholeness. I am forever thankful for Wise Fool, for creating the space that allows me to heal-
Forever a WiseFoolian.
Wise Fool is a magical place, filled with beautiful energy and supportive people. It's a safe place to come and play, while learning new skills. I've had the opportunity to build endurance, strength, character, and self esteem in a nurturing, friendly environment. I feel I've blossomed in my time here, just as I've seen so many of my fellow Fools do. I'm so very appreciative of this space. I love it here; it's truly life changing. Wise Fool makes my world and the community a better place, and I'm exited that I can help in sharing the magic that this place has brought to my life with the rest of the community. Thank you, Wise Fool!
I'm forever grateful to be a WiseFoolian.
Ian MacGillivray and Fiona
Ever had a hard time hanging upside down? The rush of the air, the sudden change in perspective. It's one of those things that's scary and fun all at once. When my daughter and I started Wise Fool many moves looked complex and pushed our boundaries (including being upside down). With tons of support and lots of practice the seemingly impossible became not only easy, but fun. Now look who's hanging upside down!
That's why I'm a Wisefoolian!
- Ian and Fiona
Rulan Tangen and Dancing Earth
Rulan Tangen of Dancing Earth
"I want to express my thanks to Wise Fool, from its amazing original founders to the current vibrant community circle - and especially for the cooperative support in offering aerial training for Native and POC performers, who have subsequently brought magical grace and power to our eco-productions , embodying spirits of sky, stars, water and sacred hoops ! Wise Fool uplifted Dancing Earth into skyward !"